Wilson’s Nation is confirming that two-thirds of this 12 months’s potato crop has but to be harvested across the nation.
The Co. Armagh-based potato packer and processer works with growers all through the island of Eire.
Firm managing director, Lewis Cunningham advised Agriland: “We’re about six weeks behind with this 12 months’s harvest. Yields are down roughly 10%, year-on-year. Tuber high quality can also be a difficulty.”
Difficult 12 months for the potato crop
Cunningham confirmed that native potato growers are going through into one of the difficult harvests in residing reminiscence.
“The harvest is simply the most recent setback that has confronted potato growers this 12 months,” he added.
“The very moist climate in April meant that foremost crop potatoes weren’t planted out till the center of Could, a full six weeks later than would usually be the case.
“Drought-like situations adopted, which hampered the germination and early progress of crops. However then got here the heavy rains of July and August.
“Wanting heavy snow in the midst of the summer time, Northern Eire’s potato rising neighborhood has had to deal with each excessive of climate that nature might ever conceive of throwing at them in 2023,” he mentioned.
Even earlier than this 12 months’s potato harvest bought underway, potato growers knew that yields could be nicely down, year-on-year.
“The swap from the extremely popular and dry situations of June to the monsoons of July has created progress cracking issues in fairly a lot of crops,” Cunningham added.
“One thing shoppers don’t wish to see in baggage and because of this, the potatoes in query can’t be offered in shops.
“Additionally because the trade was popping out of a 12 months with extraordinarily low shares of potatoes in retailer from the earlier season, we actually wanted a early good yielding harvest with no issues.
“Early September noticed harvest get underway however it shortly was a nightmare, as growers try and raise potatoes out of the bottom that’s simply saturated, situations have been extra like November than September,” the Wilson Nation’s managing director added.
He defined that floor situations had been “just about bottomless” on the time, particularly after Storm Agnes.
He mentioned that he noticed potato harvesters getting completely slowed down in locations like Bishopscourt in Co. Down.
In line with Lewis Cunningham, potato growers throughout Europe have had main challenges to confront all through 2023.
“Most of those points have been weather-related. Floods earlier within the 12 months created main delays in planting dates in international locations like France, Italy, Spain and Portugal,” he mentioned.
“This was adopted by a chronic drought, which served to scale back the yield potential of potato crops dramatically.
“As a consequence, potato provides shall be very constrained proper throughout Europe over the approaching months,” he continued.
Including to the financial pressures on potato growers in 2023 had been the very sturdy fertiliser and agrochemical costs that characterised all the rising season.
“Sustainable costs at retail degree shall be required to get all the potato sector by way of the subsequent few months.”